Beer industry encourages drivers to wear seat belts

WASHINGTON: The beer industry is launching a public-safety campaign to encourage American drivers to wear their seat belts.

WASHINGTON: The beer industry is launching a public-safety campaign to encourage American drivers to wear their seat belts.

The National Beer Wholesalers Association has mailed 20,000 bumper stickers that encourage seat-belt use to wholesalers across the country for display on their trucks.

The campaign is the first the wholesalers have done that isn't directly related to beer consumption.

Wholesalers are also being asked to distribute bumper stickers to retailers and others to broaden the reach of the effort.

The association held a press conference last Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, to garner media attention for the campaign. The association hired Rational PR to target transportation-safety writers, advertising reporters, and journalists who cover lobbying organizations about attending the conference, said Michelle Semones, director of public affairs for the group.

The wholesalers also have prepared press releases and letters to the editor for state associations across the country to use in garnering local coverage of the effort, Semones said.

Forty-seven states have state beer wholesalers associations.

"It will very much be a grassroots effort," said Semones. "We are reaching out to everyone."

The Beer Institute, which represents brewers, is also involved in the effort because brewers must give their wholesalers permission to display anything on their trucks.

The "Buckle Up America" campaign grew out of conversations the president of the wholesalers association had with the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to Semones.

Wholesalers operate thousands of trucks across the nation. "What better than to make

them into moving billboards" to promote safe driving, said Semones.

The group decided to launch the effort during the holiday period because of the large number of people who will be on US roads during that time. The effort will extend into next year.

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